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Excerpt from R. Scott Bakker's The White-Luck Warrior


pat5150

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I read it, and don't think the spoilers were too huge, much of what I might consider spoilers were more or less plot progression grounds of what I expected the three threads to cover. Some of the plot elements mentioned with the great ordeal are pretty damn spoilerific, it sounds like. It also sounds like this book is going to be very reminescent of The WarriorProphet.

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It could be a new map. My Canadian copy of the Judging Eye has nearly the same map of Earwa as was in TTT.

The map in the US version was nearly identicle, except Sarkarpus (sp?) was moved slightly to the east and the oceans/seas were given a gray-shaded effect.

Has anyone finished WLW yet? overall impressions? it's awfully hard to ignore that spoilers thread.

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Many of us (including me) have, and have posted in the spoiler thread. Anything specific you want to know?

oh no, nothing specific... just how does it rate in the overall scheme of the series? Best book? Close to it? Does it really tip the scales in terms of overall wtf-ery? Is TAE truly Bakker's Lord of the Rings to PON's quasi-Hobbit? Was madness right in that it takes Warrior-Prophet's structure/template but ups the ante 10 fold? General impressions... I don't dare wander into that spoiler thread, Kalbear.

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oh no, nothing specific... just how does it rate in the overall scheme of the series? Best book? Close to it? Does it really tip the scales in terms of overall wtf-ery? Is TAE truly Bakker's Lord of the Rings to PON's quasi-Hobbit? Was madness right in that it takes Warrior-Prophet's structure/template but ups the ante 10 fold? General impressions... I don't dare wander into that spoiler thread, Kalbear

Okay.

How does it rate in the overall scheme: My rating before was something like this:

TDTCB

TJE

(big jump)

TTT

TWP

Now it's this:

TDTCB

WLW

TJE

(big jump)

TTT

TWP

How WTF is it? It's not. There's not that much mindblowing things in this one, especially by comparison to TJE. No scenes similar to Psatma's fucking the youth out of someone, or Kelmomas' murder spree. No endings like "Who are the Dunyain" (though think about that ending when you get to the end of this one). It is much more the version of TWP to TJE's TDTCB - this is a book primarily centered around travel and war.

Is TAE the LotR to the PoN-Hobbit? No. That's utter bullshit so far. PoN feels bigger in scope and in the stakes. I think part of that is that we don't know Kellhus now and we did then, so we saw how amazing he was. If anything, it's the opposite. WLW feels small and intimate at times, PoN almost never did. The characters we're involved with are all folks largely on the outskirts of things, disconnected from the main actors and disconnected from the main action. Everything's on the periphery. I think Bakker's intent here was to showcase how big things were by giving us a glimpse of the really large scale of things, but ultimately it failed for me; being part of the giant victories directly was a lot more inclusive.

Was Madness right in that it ups the ante? Not nearly as much as he gushes. It does up the ante -kinda sorta - but at no time did I feel like things were truly in danger like I did in TWP. The Consult still feels somewhat incompetent or inefficient. The Ordeal feels a bit stupid at times. On the other hand, the power of the Gods becomes a lot more apparent, which is interesting and somewhat frightening. Kellhus still does not appear to be stoppable, and ultimately the biggest threat to the Ordeal and the Men of the world seems to be other men.

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While I'd rank the Prologue of TDTCB as some of Bakker's best writing, the overall structure of the book has always struck me as so poor and so cumbersome that I've always considered it one of the weaker books. and the climax, of Akka discovering the skin spies and the Crusade starting was a bit meh compared to the other three climaxes, all of which were spectacular tens to end their respective books.

My ordering of the books would fluctuate somewhat, but it'd probably be like this:

TJE - 9

TWP - 8

TTT - 8

TDTCB - 7.5

I swore after reading the PON that I'd never reread it--it was too obtuse and complicated for all that it was fascinating and dense. But I find that TJE really revived my interest in the series in a big new way, and rereading TJE was an absolute breeze. The couple times I've attempted to start a reread of TDTCB I generally read the prologue, start reading the rest of the book and after about twenty minutes to an hour I start flipping pages looking for something interesting I remember. :-p That didn't happen with TJE on a reread, even though I expected to find the Esme, lil K and Sorweel POVs boring, I was actually quite interested in them. Not as interesting as Akka and Mimara, but way more interesting than most of the exposition of TDTCB.

TJE contrasts rather nicely with TJE structurally. Both of them have a set of VERY disparate storylines that do not really intersect in any major way but TJE very skillfully manages the whole story and all the POVs making it feel like a much more unified novel.

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The structure of TDTCB is meh, but Kellhus is at his most interesting there, Cnaiur at his most interesting, and Akka and Esme at their best characterization. Conphas' triumph is also great. The only flaw for me is Serwe, who is particularly horrible. That, and the pacing is pretty slow.

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The structure of TDTCB is meh, but Kellhus is at his most interesting there, Cnaiur at his most interesting, and Akka and Esme at their best characterization. Conphas' triumph is also great. The only flaw for me is Serwe, who is particularly horrible. That, and the pacing is pretty slow.

hmm, thanks for cooling some of the hype... which could spike to dangerous levels thanks to the bs publishing delay.

My favorite is TDtCB as well, mostly due to the quality of the prose, it lacks the "Kellhus OMG" which got a bit old in re-reading TWP and TTT, and the climax on the Hieghts where Cnaiur tells the highborn what war is contrasted with Kellhus's reminescing on his Dunyain traning.

My rating--

TDtCB

TTT (after a re-read)

TJE/TWP

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Hmm, of the books sofar I'd rate TWP and TTT the highest, they were the most eventful as far as I'm concerned. I liked TJE a lot, but I expect WLW to deliver and have a good deal more meat on the bones than TJE, and it does seem to have that.

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100 pages in and this is probably the strongest book for me since The Warrior-Prophet. The intervening two were let down a little by their short size giving short shrift to some storylines and elements, but this feels pretty spot-on excellent so far. Even the 'story so far' bit is great, as it straightens out some of the more surreal and offbeat moments in TJE in particular that I'd half-forgotten.

The biggest problem is that the scenes of logistics and how the armies organise themselves as they cross the wastelands is a bit too reminiscent of TWP, but the situation is different enough (the wastelands are sparse but nothing like the desert) that it shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Oddly, there's been a couple of references to 'unwitnessed' events that seemed reminiscent of the last Malazan book.

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Wert - As long as you're posting, could you comment on the potential of the word-of-mouth = better sales theme? It seems like something you'd be as well, if not better versed in than most. Per Scott's comment on his blog here it seems like there could be a tipping point coming. Would you agree? If so, what kind of precedence is there for this? That is to say, can you think of any authors of a multi-volume epic fantasy series that just got OK sales until they perked up dramatically half way through?

Also (and I realize that I will be mocked for this "Ah mockery. That is one thing we share."), if sales are going up, I do wonder if this board is in some way a part of that success. It's the best on-line discussion forum of the books, Martin's huge fan base sees the recs made here, and Bakker has been discussed ad nauseum on this board.

Erikson sold somewhat badly for a long time. By the time The Bonehunters came out in 2006, seven years into the series, the whole thing had only sold 250,000 copies. Divide that between six books and you have very underwhelming sales for a big epic fantasy series, especially one that appears to have been bought specifically as the 'next big thing' after Martin, Jordan etc. However, the books had only just started coming out in the USA at that point. As we've seen, the last two books hit the bestseller lists and total sales now I'd expect to be much higher, maybe approaching seven figures if not into them.

Bakker's sales have actually been strong given his profile and publishers (his US publishers are a small press with no paperback release until recently). Certainly his UK performance has been very decent (six figures for the first trilogy, I believe) if a bit of a slow-burn. He's not been a whippet out of the gate like say Gail Z. Martin, Karen Miller or other such writers who sell tons but are never talked about here, but it's been a steady increase. Would I predict a breakout explosion? A while back I'd have said no, but after Erikson's huge and encouraging sales success despite the oft-reported difficulties getting into the first book, I think it's certainly possible: for me, Prince of Nothing/Aspect-Emperor is much more approachable than Malazan, certainly structurally and character-wise.

The sales boom could be down to simple bookshelf dominance (5 books into an 8-book series, people are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel and are jumping aboard). The power of online reccomendations is growing, but I'm not sure it's pushing sales that noticeably just yet, though it's starting to get there. Martin heavily recommending the books in Spain during his appearance with Bakker at a convention may have helped, though he hasn't provided a cover quote yet, which could help more. Erikson has a cover quote on the books, so maybe Erikson's booming profile has actually helped out Bakker a bit as well.

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Interesting. When this starts to happen, how much of a spike in sales do the older books tend to see?

that's where the lack of MMPBs really hurts, buying up TPs of a series is more expensive. otoh, in the last year I've seen most every B&N and Borders' stocking all four books in TP, so maybe it is a solid backlist seller.

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